Posted: Sunday, July 1, 2012 3:50:34 AM
I remember a summer night when I’m twelve years old. I lay in pools of moonlight. It drowns the lawn in pale silver and makes me feel lightweight, as though I’m made of air. I could float away into the canvas of the sky…become a speck of color in the artist’s work.
They call night dark, but my sky is anything but dark. Its artist is a little girl, around eight or nine years old. She likes bright colors and she glows like an angel. Every night, after the blaze of day has faded into the quiet evening, she dips her feet in the oceans of iridescence and dances across the black canvas. It comes to life.
When the little girl dances, she stirs up dust in the form of pale clouds, shimmering over the horizon in fluffs of silver. She leaps across the sky, leaving white-star footprints glittering behind her.
I have walked those footsteps millions of times. I have ventured on journeys through the traces of unknown constellations. I build castles in the galaxies, worlds and kingdoms where I can sail the asterisms.
I remember the summer night, at twelve years old, riding on the back of Apus, the bird of paradise. We fly past burning galaxies, past Neverland and beyond. We touch the feather-light surface of atmospheres of unknown elements. We see fairies fluttering in the luminous clouds of the Peony Star.
But the overgrown grass tickles my legs and I remember where I am. I fall back into the atmosphere of Earth, back into my own backyard, where all is quiet and the canvas of the little artist is suspended hundreds of miles above me.
The year I was twelve, I attended three different middle schools. Three different worlds meant three separate lives – circles of existence that were hard to enter and even harder to leave. In my life, I had never lived in the same place for more than two years. I knew the backseat of the van, hotel rooms, and moving boxes better than I knew any neighborhood.
It was all a great adventure, but as a child, I desperately needed a source of stability – something in the environment that would never, ever change. I would leave the Midwest cornfields. I would depart from the peace of the Ohio countryside. I would move away from my beloved California seaside.
So, I found the stars. I was five and I sat on my father’s shoulders. He said, “Look at the sky. It is a painting that you can carry with wherever we go.”
The sky is with me always. Whenever I leave, whenever I move again, and even when I grow up someday, I know that, after the sun goes to sleep, I can trace my fingers along the constellations of my beautiful nighttime sky.
I am a part of this sky, and it is a part of me forever.